International Journal of Nanomedicine (2012-05-01)

Cuprous oxide nanoparticles selectively induce apoptosis of tumor cells

  • Wang Y,
  • Zi XY,
  • Su J,
  • Zhang HX,
  • Zhang XR,
  • Zhu HY,
  • Li JX,
  • Yin M,
  • Yang F,
  • Hu YP.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2012, no. default
pp. 2641 – 2652


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Ye Wang,1,2,* Xiao-Yuan Zi,1,* Juan Su,1 Hong-Xia Zhang,1 Xin-Rong Zhang,3 Hai-Ying Zhu,1 Jian-Xiu Li,1 Meng Yin,3 Feng Yang,3 Yi-Ping Hu,11Department of Cell Biology, 2School of Clinical Medicine, 3Department of Pharmaceuticals, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China*Authors contributed equally.Abstract: In the rapid development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, many researchers have discovered that metal oxide nanoparticles have very useful pharmacological effects. Cuprous oxide nanoparticles (CONPs) can selectively induce apoptosis and suppress the proliferation of tumor cells, showing great potential as a clinical cancer therapy. Treatment with CONPs caused a G1/G0 cell cycle arrest in tumor cells. Furthermore, CONPs enclosed in vesicles entered, or were taken up by mitochondria, which damaged their membranes, thereby inducing apoptosis. CONPs can also produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and initiate lipid peroxidation of the liposomal membrane, thereby regulating many signaling pathways and influencing the vital movements of cells. Our results demonstrate that CONPs have selective cytotoxicity towards tumor cells, and indicate that CONPs might be a potential nanomedicine for cancer therapy.Keywords: nanomedicine, selective cytotoxicity, apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, mitochondrion-targeted nanomaterials